Torah question of the week: wise of heart?

Rabbi Berkman is a rabbi for Mesorah DC and leads this weekly discussion of the Torah portion.

In case anyone is still a little groggy after a late Super Bowl night, here’s some food for thought to help wake you up and get your week started. Enjoy!

Wise of Heart?

This week’s Torah portion describes, in great detail, the regal garments that the Kohanim (priests) would wear to serve in the Tabernacle. A kohain in full uniform was certainly, and God willing, will certainly be a sight to see. Who made these unique and detailed garments?

God tells Moshe “speak to all those who are wise of heart,” telling him to employ the most skilled craftsmen to make the vestments. What jumps out at me are the words “wise of heart” or “chacham lev”. The word “wise” is usually an expression of intellect that belongs to the brain not the heart. The heart on the other hand is usually associated with emotions or feelings. What is the Torah expressing by combining the intellectual properties of wisdom with the emotional aspects of heart? What do the words “chacham lev” – “wise of heart” – mean to you?

Chew on it. Let me know what you think, and have a wonderful week!

3 replies
  1. Will
    Will says:

    I’m just going to go off the dome for this one…
    I think that wise of heart connotes a person who has fully integrated their knowledge. In other words a person can study Torah and mitzvos etc. and do so in a detached manner. A person can know all the laws and prayers, but it might not be part of their being. Perhaps the person who is wise of heart not only knows what he/she’s supposed to do, but does it and wants to do it, simply b/c it’s the right thing to do. If we do things only according to our intellect and reason we’ll still be confined within a limitatin. There’s a level beyond intellect – a suprational level – that enables us to get past the ego and do what we know to be right and do it with enthusiasm.

  2. k
    k says:

    most of us are filled w/ the desire to be smartest, strongest, bravest, proudest, boldest person around. we focus on work, trying to excel, with ambition, aggression, focusing ourselves – spending time w/ friends who are instrumental to use, they help us get jobs, provide hte most entertainent for us, create intimate circles for us. like through an independent minyan, or supper club. but this is not like the wise heart of those who spend time caring for others in the community, like that in a larger wider shul. the davening may not be that exciting, the jokes may be bad, might not get enough job contacts, but those with a wise heart recognize that other older generation need the help of younger generations. they need warmth, and we owe the a duty and we owe synagogues a duty to rebuild them. independent minyanim are vibrant places and than can lead to brilliant, hard working people w/ wise hearts. but often i find this in the shul community where the lumpen proletariat are, and where there is still an ethic for caring for all memebrs of hte community and not jsut those who can be most instrumental in our happiness.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] To round up the week, Gather the Jews is posting three commentaries on this week’s Torah portion.  This is the first and is a continuation of Rabbi Berkman’s post earlier this week. […]

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